Guilford stuns No. 1 Huntley in regional final
Huntley's Sammi Campanelli wiped tears onto her jersey Friday as she reminisced about her time as a Red Raider after a 43-40 loss to Guilford in the Class 4A Huntley regional championship.
"Just this team, it's special" said Campanelli, who will play next year at NCAA Division II Lewis University in Romeoville. "The environment, the experience, it's like a family."
Campanelli and the Raiders had dreams of winning their third consecutive regional title on their home court but came up short against a Vikings' team determined to also do something special.
Fourth-seeded Guilford (24-9) upset top-seeded Huntley (28-5) and advances to play South Elgin in the Hampshire sectional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Vikings won their first regional championship since 1996, but Huntley didn't make it easy.
The Raiders struggled to match the physical play of Guilford in the first half and trailed 35-24 midway through the third quarter. Huntley, however, eventually cut the lead to 35-33 in the opening two minutes of the fourth on a putback from Campanelli.
After Guilford pushed its lead to 41-37 with 1:07 remaining, Huntley senior guard Morgan McCaughn hit a corner 3 out of a timeout to make the score 41-40. The Raiders' defense then forced a 10-second violation against the Vikings with 18.2 seconds left, setting up a potential go-ahead basket.
Campanelli was fouled underneath the basket but missed the front-end of a 1-and-1. Senior Mallory Winters was there to grab the offensive rebound, but Guilford senior guard Avery Green made a heads-up play, ripping the ball away from Winters.
Green then nailed two free throws with six seconds left to put the game away.
Huntley held the Vikings to only four points in the third quarter, but could not get anything going on offense.
"We were getting down to the wire, and I thought we did everything we could to fight back," said Ozzauto, a 1,000-point career scorer who will play next year at Division I Lehigh. "We came up short. We needed to move it quicker, be stronger with the ball and make the right choices.
"When we did that, we got those open looks."
Guilford played a zone defense and had eyes on Ozzauto for most of the game. Huntley eliminated the Vikings in each of the past two postseasons, including last year's regional final.
"The biggest game plan against Ozzauto was stopping her from getting in the paint," Guilford coach Mike Jamerson said. "She makes everything happen for Huntley. I was watching game film, remembered her from last year, and she's a heck of a point guard and one of the best in the state. We knew if we could take her out of the game, we had a chance."
Ozzauto led the Raiders with 15 points and five rebounds. Sammi Campanelli had 12 points, five rebounds and five steals, and Anna Campanelli chipped in six points.
Guilford had the game's top two scorers, led by Green with 18 points and two 3s. Senior forward Lindsey Knuth tossed in 16 points and had eight rebounds.
Huntley coach Steve Raethz felt the Vikings played more physical at times.
"We dug ourselves a hole that first half, but you've got to credit Guilford," Raethz said. "They dominated us in the first half -- on the glass and with second-chance opportunities. They were more physical."
Huntley still has plenty to be proud about after winning its second straight Fox Valley Conference championship, going a perfect 18-0.
The Raiders' 28 wins were their most since finishing 30-4 in 2016.
"Everyone in that locker room feels absolutely gutted about what happened," Raethz said. "We just talked about, regardless of the difficult of losing a game like this, what a special season it was and what a special group of players it was. I can't say enough about our eight seniors and what they've meant to the program. We've got some really special kids in there who made it a really special season."
Ozzauto, too, will remember the good times.
"Like Sammi said, we're a family," Ozzauto said. "I think any one of us would do anything for each other. The coaches really cared about us and we all looked out for each other."